No matter how hard I tried, daily meditation didn’t help me with everyday stress.
Apparently, sitting alone on a cushion wasn’t the same as being face-to-face with a bitchy colleague. Or a fickle lap top, a stressed-out loved one, or anything else in life. Except sitting on a cushion.
Kind of like how your dog sits perfectly at home but acts like a goober in public.
But here’s what has helped. Using Rico and Roxy as daily meditation reminders and timers.
Here’s how it works.
Both Rico and Roxy (and, I’m guessing, 99.9% of dogs) LOVE going for walks. As soon as my butt leaves the sofa, they prance to the front door. Sometimes Rico tries to barrel race around my feet, but he ends up running right into my knees. Roxy might spin like an Olympic ice skater the whole way down the hall.
I didn’t want to explain to the EMT’s how I fell and cracked my head, so something had to change.
I couldn’t yell at them for being so happy. Rather than dance down the hall with them, one day I just stopped.
My stalled progress toward the door caught their attention. They both pranced back and did a couple of spins. I stood still and breathed. Meditated.
They sprinted back and forth, trying desperately to show me the way. Maybe I had forgotten where I was going?
I stayed still and breathed. Focused on relaxing as I stood there. Checking my frustration response.
They came back and sat in front of me, looking at each other as if to say, “Maybe we jumped the gun?”
That was my cue to move again. Except that triggered more dancing. So I stopped again. Meditated again. This went on all the way to the door. Sure, it took time. But, with practice, they stopped waltzing to the door. And I can put their leashes on, no problem. And we can step outside calmly.
Now, their excitement at anything is my cue to meditate. I stop when they calm down.
I’ve found that just that little bit of mindfulness, that knowing to meditate when I’m fed up with their antics, has made a huge difference in my anger response overall.
So here is a list of ordinary, potentially stressful moments when you can practice meditating with your dogs:
- Putting food bowl down at mealtime
- Picking up car keys
- Getting leashed up for a walk
- Walking out the door
- Before throwing favorite toy to chase
- When you come home, especially if your dog is a jumper
- Before getting out of car
- Giving treats (make sure to give them one after every walk, no matter how they behaved)
What are some everyday stressful times when you can practice meditating until your dog calms down?